Cancer-FREE

Cancer-FREE

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hmmmm....

Sometimes things are too weird. Gideon has been doing great, as I've mentioned. Then at dinner last night, he stopped eating and was silent. Even Brody across the table, who was acting like a total and complete goof, wasn't snapping Gideon's glazed eyes into awareness. He just stared with wide eyes into nothingness. I asked him what was wrong. He looked up at me, his bottom lip made its distressing debut for the night, and he began to dry heave. Then he laid down and just fell asleep. This was at 5:30! My adrenaline was pumping and the sirens of something-is-wrong were whirring at maximum volume. He didn't feel hot at all. What was wrong?

I bundled him in a blanket and rocked him for about two hours with the thermometer in my hand and his arm ready for the reading. Every single time I checked, his temperature was normal. His behavior was anything but normal. He didn't even move whenever I repositioned him for a temperature check. He was out.

I think I get myself so worked up sometimes that I make myself super sick with a migraine. These have been more common the past six months. They don't happen in the midst of a crisis, but as soon as I am able to calm down, they attack. I was able to wake Gideon up enough to get on his jammies, brush his teeth, and take his chemo. He was a little zombie the entire time and didn't try to talk, to answer me...nothing. He crawled into his bed on his own and passed out again. I had to get one more temperature check in there: normal. I went to bed next to him with the puke bucket ready, and the migraine monster started to chisel at the right side of my brain. It was not the best night.

This morning, though, Gideon is acting fine. He ate his yogurt and shunned his toast and eggs...the norm these days. He is smiling and talkative. So, last night was a Twilight Zone fluke, I guess. I'm praying it was and that he's not battling something.

Another PLUS-side bonus: Those HORRENDOUS, horrid, horrific medicinal syringes are starting to WORK now. I can't tell you how frustrated I get with those things. The plunger never fits into the syringe right and then when I wrestle it and maneuver it, I am rewarded only with the medicine spraying everywhere. When they are first bought, they work perfectly. It's after they are washed (trying to be green and recycle) that they become these defiant little monsters. Guess what I had to do to avoid this drama? Get the rubber part of the plunger a little wet and VoilĂ ! It just slips in there like it was never the obstinate and insanely stubborn devise ever created.

All of us new cancer parents get a binder to take home full of information. It is the most useful handbook I've ever owned; however, I want to make a suggestion. Please make a section called "Potential Annoyances." This is not the gloom or doom section that relays heart-wrenching what-ifs, but little things that aren't life altering, but could provide some minor relief from annoying garbage like those dang medicinal plungers! Just an idea. I'd be happy to write it for you. :)

Grrrrrrrrrr...


P.S. Please remember to CHEER for Grand Marais, MI. There are only NINE days left and second place is GAINING on them! Thank you.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Spontaneous Smiles (and Laughs...)

Gideon is doing really well these past couple of days. He doesn't even need chasers after he takes his chemo anymore. He just swallows them like it's second nature. Gideon has also learned how to read his own body. He'll say, "I need to just lay down, please. I need to rest," and then he goes to lay in his bed for thirty minutes all on his own. Or he'll tell me how his tummy is crazy and wants to cuddle. I'm all about that. I'm so proud of this boy.

Speaking of proud... I slept in until 8:45 this morning! I panicked and leapt out of bed. Gideon was not in his room, and he always wakes me up! Thankfully, I heard soft giggles coming from Brody's room. I stealthily sneaked in to spy. Spying on my kids has got to be one of my greatest joys in life. Nowadays it's to catch them being sweet and heartmeltingly adorable. (I'm sure later my spy tactics won't be as jubilant...more I-demand-to-be-in-the-KNOW.) What I saw started the day out more right than I can express. Brody was sitting on the teacher chair in his room and reading Caps for Sale to Gideon, complete with inflection and character voices. Gideon sat criss-cross-applesauce underneath him, staring up, transfixed by his big brother. I sat and listened, out of earshot and line of vision. The way the two of them interacted and the sweet way Brody patiently listened to his brothers questions made me decide coffee could wait. Let that soak in: coffee could wait. Yes, it was that glorious.

It is this feeling that has driven me to become a humungous fan of Ruth Kaiser's Spontaneous Smiley Project. I first read about her and saw her gorgeous photography through a friend a couple of years ago. Her whole philosophy is to "be porous, not Teflon." She sees smiley faces in everyday objects and takes pictures of them. It has become a nationwide pastime for many of us, since. Needless to say, I completely reached out to her so that I could gush about the beauty and awareness she promotes in everyday living. I thought it would end with a post, but Ruth posted back, and then I posted back...and, I think I kind of found a soul sister in Ruth. She sent a gorgeous A-B-C banner that had a smiley-face object for each letter of the alphabet as soon as she heard Gideon was diagnosed. Get this, for the letter "I" she made the picture to be the "I.V." smiley Gideon found on his arm while in the hospital. I told you she's gorgeous.


(Gideon's SMILEY from his IV)

Anyway, Ruth is making a LAUGHING/GIGGLING video and needs all of you positive people to help out. She needs you to send her your laughing children (or adults) to her email: ruth@SpontaneousSmiley.com. I sent her mine, below. Spread the laughter, all.

Also, please remember to CHEER for Grand Marais, MI. You thought I'd forget, but I didn't! Only eleven days left! I need to give a super loud shout-out to my Facebook friends who voted last night when I put out my 495,000 vote challenge...and then I whined about it until people voted. You people are FABULOUS!

Let's pray these giggles continue!



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Monday, January 24, 2011

MONUMENTAL DAY!!

The air is dry, dry and beyond cold. So frigidly cold that the air forces one to become more aware of this mindless thing we call breathing. It also opens up the night sky for some massive stargazing opportunities. Did you know the "morning star" you're seeing every morning is Venus? Now you do. Also, just so you know: Venus is Pluto's best friend. Venus protects Pluto from any mean meteors since its so hot and will burn 'em up. That piece of knowledge is courtesy of Gideon. We went out to look at the sky last night, and this was my lesson. I was also told that heaven is not on Mercury since Mercury isn't that pretty. I think we may need to book a trip to Kalamazoo's Planetarium soon. Gideon is enthralled with all things sky-related. He still plans on flying Jumbo Jets, though. I asked if he wanted to be an astronaut, too. Nope. He wants to fly planes and breathe "regular air." Squeezable, yes? Yes.

Today was monumental. Not just because of the cold air and the fact that I adore winter, but for other reasons:
1. Gideon...get ready... SPLIT HIS COOKIE IN HALF AND SHARED IT WITH BRODY!!! He did! He did! I have been hammering this sharing thing pretty hard these days, and watching Gideon pass a large chunk of cookie to his brother in the backseat almost made me have to pull over to cry. I won't drive on bad roads while crying. I am a responsible Michigan girl. So, I promised myself I could cry later in celebration.

2. Later came. I need to say this: I am not a Justin Bieber fan. I think he's adorable, but I never got into his music (sorry, fans). Then he recorded a song called "Pray" and featured kids with cancer in his music video. Rivers. I created rapids with these tears, and some strange ugly-cry noises, too. I think I was speaking Moose. I never thought I'd see the day that Justin Bieber would make me sob. But he did. He's a BIG "MAKE A WISH" supporter. Yay, Justin! Brody is allowed to listen to you.

3. Another cry came AGAIN. This truly was the most monumental part of my day. Mattawan Girl Scout Troop 618 had a blood drive in Mattawan in honor of Gideon. I had no idea they were doing this until Gideon got their letter in the mail today. Are you ready? THIRTY EIGHT "good fishies" swam out of the envelope. THIRTY EIGHT people donated in Gideon's honor. That's 114 lives saved. I thought I got all of the tears out from Justin. I bawled and Gideon asked, "WHAT'S WRONG, mommy?" Brody, who is older and wiser by twenty-one whomping months, and more used to his mommy said, "She's happy, Gideon. Those are happy tears. Looks like she's makin' a lake for your fishies." And that made me laugh. I have the funniest kids ALIVE.

TROOP 618 -- THANK YOU! You ladies are beautiful and wonderful. Also, thank you to all of the donors. Gideon was elated by his fishy storm! So was I!

4. This all occurred on the day of Zondervan's blood drive, too. Thank you, Merideth, for cheering your colleagues on towards donating that blood. EVERY bag counts! I love you, lifesavers.

Yes... Monumental and lovely was this day. It would be even more monumental if you took twenty seconds to CHEER for Grand Marais, Michigan by clicking here. (There will be a plug for this until the contest is over. Sorry. I just adore that town too much to watch it be destroyed...)







Friday, January 21, 2011

If I knew you were comin'...

My boys totally play along with the zaniness in this house. I have been addicted to early 1950s songs lately, and the bigger the sound, the better. There are not enough songs with long instrumental breaks and sliding trombones in my lifetime, so I'll borrow from previous generations. So, we are time warping into the 50's theme around this house, and the boys are LOVING it. Gideon woke up this morning singing the song depicted below and then asking for his plate of sausage. I'm happy to report for the blog archives that Gideon is not refusing vegetarian sausage, and I am elated that my boy is getting his veggies in this fake-meat way. I'll take it!

I notice many things about these videos (the messy house included), but I can't get over the way Gideon throws a steroid fit and Brody doesn't miss a beat. He doesn't get all angry or frustrated, he just plugs away. No words in my blog can really encapsulate this calm persona Brody displays during these breakdowns, but you can see it for yourself. I also notice the gorgeous personality differences in my boys: Brody, the shyer and hesitant and careful one, and Gideon: the extrovert and all full of TAAA-DDAAAAAs! In the video that the boys shot without me knowing it, Gideon says, "Brody, I haven't seen you in awhile. Sing a song for me-eee!" which also tells how I always get out the video camera and ask my boys to recreate moments. Maybe it's just me, but the video Gideon shot is my absolute favorite. His belly laugh and the slapstick WHOMP! of the pillow careening with the camera is just perfect. I should leave the boys alone with the camera more often. This was not a recreated moment, it was a real moment.

Speaking of moments, could everyone do me a huge favor and STOP trying to rush life into warp speed? This never bothered me before. It does now, and a ton more than I ever would have guessed. I used to say things like, "Gosh, I'll be glad when THIS day is over," and that sentence will never leave my lips again. Moments can be awful, stressful, frustrating...but the next moment that follows could be the most gorgeous moment of the week (or even your life) if you can just let your heart recover from the not-so-great moments that went on before. We miss so much of the good stuff by being stuck in the mud of a yucky moment. Most people want to live a long life, but then contradict this desire by rush-rush-rushing the day. I say slow it down. Listen to some 50's music if it helps.

...And I'll step down from my soapbox. I feel much better. Thank you for letting me rant.

Love to you! Even YOU, busy-busy-busy and stressed-stressed-stressed out friend. Come on over and I'll bake you a cake (or we'll just dance to the song...)!


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P.S. Please remember to CHEER for Grand Marais, MI by clicking here! An automated "WOOHOO!" is enough to do it since it has to be one of the most encouraging sounds on the planet. OooOOoOOoo... I KNOW you wanna hear it now! ;)

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Potpourri Post

Gideon is eating us out of house and home! His latest craving: sausage. Not just any sausage -- NO! It must be plain sausage links. Set a plate of maple syrup flavored sausages or sausages with "bumpy skin" and there will be some howling and gnashing of teeth. He is a sausage snob. Oddly enough, that kind of makes this Polish momma proud. I'd be even prouder if his tastebuds were demanding kielbasa. Maybe the next round of steroids will bring this happy gift.


I have found (praying and hoping) a...gosh, I'm afraid to type this...a way to deal with Gideon's need to hit and pummel people during steroids. Before it was that blow-up football guy in which to unleash his angst, and now Gids has lost interest in him. Then, I gave him pillows to throw, kick, and clobber. I can tell he's on his way to wanting to kick some tail when he clenches his teeth and balls up his little fists. Thankfully, in my sleepy state, these are obvious neon lit signs to my foggy brain. I send him to the puff chair of pillows to punch away at the first sign of trouble. He snubbed his nose at this the last few times and hightailed it towards his brother with fists flailing. He said to me, "I don't wanna hit pillows! I wanna hit PEOPLE! It just FEELS better!" Yes. He said that. More like growled that. I was not the proudest of my little Warrior in that moment, but then I thought about kids with sensory needs... Needs to be squeezed and to feel human contact. I laid him on the floor with him thrashing and screaming out a plea for a little taste of brother warfare, and I started to methodically squeeze (not too tight) his arms, his shoulders, his hands, his legs...just pressure. I watched as magically his fists unballed and his jaw relaxed. I tried this new method three separate times since, and it has worked! Please, let this be the end of the bruising brother rampages! Poor Brody. Brody did say to me, "It's okay, mom. I'm a hockey player," as if he was willing to sacrifice himself in order to bring peace to the house. No way, kiddo.



At Gideon's last clinic visit, it was found that his organs are experiencing minimal damage and distress, so his chemotherapy has been increased. Cancer is so very strange. I'm thankful that his organs are staying strong, but increasing the chemo is definitely a bittersweet bit of news. I just have to remember what that means: less likelihood of a relapse. I can't think about the chemistry of what the chemo is doing to the insides of my boy's body. I have to trust and pray. This has not failed us yet! You praying public have made our requests so voiced through it all. THANK YOU. Here is a picture of Gideon's chemo platter tonight. Yes, I use chocolate syrup. What can I say? I love Mary Poppins and I think her advise is brilliant. Also, the ground up chemo pills stick better in chocolate.


I had my meltdown during Gideon's last round of steroids and begged for someone to whisk me away. This time, I had friends who were all proactive and made plans in advance (I'm not a plan-maker...at all. Thank goodness I have friends who know this about me). I need to thank my GR ladies for treating me to a Polish dinner at a restaurant that looked as though Cupid set his arrows flying in an avalanche of glittered hearts and pink streamers. Do they know me or WHAT?! Polish food and sparkle...swoon. Then, preggers Cate let me lounge at her house in the best Snuggie of all time: a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle blanket with arms. By the way, I'm never knocking Snuggies again. I'm a fan! I am! Kristen drove to my house from Milford just for a few hours and spoiled me with a pedicure and dinner. So, I have been extremely mollycoddled! Gideon's moments of lunacy are just rose petal annoyances to me this round. I have the BEST friends EVER!




Speaking of the best friends ever, I must say, the residents of GRAND MARAIS, MICHIGAN are saints. I have been dreaming about my home away from home a lot lately. As most of you know, this upper peninsula slice of heaven is my escape from all forms of chaos. It forever will be that to me. Brody and Gideon have been receiving care packages from the town of Grand Marais each month as reminders of the gorgeous people who reside in the most spectacular spot on earth. I'm not just talking it up because it has been such a part of my family's life (my great-great grandfather made his home there with his eighteen children...so, as you can imagine, I still have relatives up there), but because it is truly God's gift to our planet. I have traveled many places in my life, but this is still my favorite by far. Sadly, the bay is filling in, and they are in massive need of a break-wall. They have been promised funds (which never came to fruition) since this is one of the RARE safe havens on Lake Superior in which boaters can wait out storms, etc. If the bay is gone, so is its capability to protect. The bay also serves as a tourist pull, especially for the kayakers and those who love sandy beaches on calm water. Tourism is this town's means of survival. Where is this going? Well, I feel the need to pay something forward to a town who has quite literally been a blessing to myself and several generations before me and after me. They are in a READER'S DIGEST contest. The town that has the most votes will receive forty thousand dollars and a feature article in this popular magazine. To win, all you need to do is click here, scroll to "GRAND MARAIS, MI" in blue and on the left, click on it, and then click the "CHEER" button ten times. There is NO money involved. There are no donations or logging in needed. We just need VOTES, and you can do so every single day. So, if you could pay it forward to a town who hosts the spot where my soul feels closest to our Maker, that would be perfect! In all that I'm getting-getting-getting, I feel the need to voice ways people can give-give-give in honor of beauty and goodness. Please help save the town that I fully expect will become Gideon's escape one day, as well (it's in the blood)! I feel the need to repost this video of our last trip up there, just so that you can take in its wonder. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clinic Tomorrow

I've never been the girl to point out the strings at the puppet show. I'd much rather watch them dance and sing and ignore the strings (unless one snaps me in the eye, or something). Here is one gorgeous puppet to celebrate in our lives: Just like a normal boy, Gideon's cold has diminished into a gooey mucus-ridden cough. That's it. No strings attached! An occasional dragon-like hack and then it's done. I think it's taken longer than the general public to conquer for him, but it's under-wraps and we can move on from that one. I pretty much fastened a funnel to his mouth and forced the fluids for awhile there, but nothing like any other "normal" momma wouldn't do. That feels good, to have a small medical mishap that everyone else experiences, too. Not that having a cold is good, but you know what I mean... I never thought I'd see the day when I'm thankful for a cold. Perspective, perspective, perspective! While I'm thankful that the general public is so loving, I am looking forward to the day when a stranger doesn't feel the need to buy Gideon a cookie just by looking at him and feeling sad.

Gideon was feeling SO much better that he, Brody and Tom went ice skating for a little while. Below is the footage. He adored it! He got tired quickly, but I think this was not only good for him to be outside, but for Brody to feel like he was giving his brother some important Big-Brother-Training on the ice. Sheesh, they are adorable. I was shackled to my computer as I typed more papers for my online classes during this time (I. Am. Not. A. Fan.), but with every word typed I'm getting closer to the finish. It's relieving to work on these papers knowing that the boys are having safe fun and not rigging up some catapult device in the basement while I study.

Tomorrow is another clinic day. Gideon will receive Vincristine, and we will be starting up on those steroids again. Thankfully, the child has made up for what is to come by making me laugh nonstop. It's all about balance. I've stored up the laughs he's granted me like a camel (not the spitting kind, the smiling kind...yes, they exist). I'll scoop 'em out when things get hairy here in the next few days. Friends, please remind me to do that. I won't allow myself to get shocked by the fact that Gideon will act sort of mean and unlike himself for awhile. As long as all of these medicines and chemicals are doing their jobs, I'm thankful. Please continue to pray that they do!

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(And, just to point out, "AIIIIIMMMMEEEE! What cha wanna do-oo?" is wailing in the background. I love you, my seeeester!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Iron & Wine "Release"



I should have been writing one of my one trillion papers last night to earn my six credits needed to stay "current" with my teaching career, but instead I was addicted to a song. I played it over and over and over again in the background while I watched the black cursor on my screen blink in a wavy way since tears kept threatening to spill.

I frustrate myself the way I can get so down at times, and those times are usually while Gideon is napping and Brody is at school. I say to myself, "STOP IT! He's alive. He's sleeping upstairs. Be grateful! What is wrong with you?" As you can imagine, this inner monologue does nothing for my self esteem. In fact, sometimes I think that if I would just allow myself the time to cry, I could move on more quickly and feel much better. I need to let it all out... Not to wallow and allow darkness to take over my heart, but to just release everything... mostly the worry. And, surprisingly, the worry doesn't attack too often. Believing in a higher power does that. I'm not in control, and I know it.

There's always a trigger to this worry. I am thankful that I'm a moment girl, as I have said before, since I can exist in the here and now and not really dwell on what might come. Unfortunately, the here and now sometimes forces that attention forward, towards the countless unknowns in life's future.

An acquaintance I met through one of the support groups has a son whose ALL (same diagnosis as Gideon) relapsed a year and a half after he was done with chemo, and he "earned his angel wings" as we in the childhood cancer community would say. I have never thought about, processed, or even let myself process the thought of a relapse. This is mostly because my goal and focus has been to get through this chemo in the most healthy way we can. Since we are still entrenched in chemo treatments, that has been my sole concern. I believe and will continue to believe that Gideon will not relapse. I do, but there is still that lodged boulder there...the fear. I started to choke on that fear and was about to lose it when I heard someone on the stairs.

"I can't sleep, mommy. Can we lay on the couch to rest, instead?" Ummmm... YES. Maybe it's crazy or maybe it's normal, but I have been massaging Gideon constantly. He adores it (wonder where he got that), and I picture my fingers rubbing each muscle, every square millimeter of his legs, arms, back, neck, and I just pray the entire time. I silently repeat over and over, "Please, let this blood flow clean. Please keep coursing and working and remain sharkless." Gideon's peacefully closed eyes and closed-mouth-angelic grin on the pillow adds to the serenity of these moments. He doesn't get tired of me rubbing and I could do it for hours. And we did. For two hours I rubbed him and prayed and watched his sweet face. The worry didn't ease up from earlier, but the thankfulness increased significantly and completely trumped the worry. I was going to say "overshadowed" it, but that doesn't work, more like "overlit" it.

By the time we were finished, it was almost time to pick up Brody. Gideon said, "Mommy, let me rub your back. You're a princess." Every person should have a Gideon in his/her life. He just obliterates any negative thought or emotion. Of course I let him! He is GOOD. He walked on my back until I told him we were going to be late. So Gids and I noodled our way to the car after our spa time on the couch.

We went about our day, and I didn't deal with the worry still looming within until much later in the night. Writing a paper about differentiating a class seemed impossible. I searched for the live streaming of Iron & Wine's newest album (coming out at the end of the month) just to be my background music...my chill tunes of inspiration. That's when "HALF MOON" was played and I just stopped. The cursor was waving due to the tears, and I didn't want to experience vertigo (excuses, excuses).

Here are the lyrics, I think you'll understand why I had to stop what I was doing:
Halfway home in the hilltop trees
And all our footprints in the snow
And the evening glow leaving

Low night noise in the wintertime
I wake beside you on the floor
Counting your breathing

'Cause I can't see nothing in this half moon.
Lay me down if I should lose you.

Halfway-working on a worn-out house
And all our friends
The ragged crows
And aching bones whining.

Where are we when the twilight comes?
The dark of valley and the breeze
And the frozen leaves chiming?

'Cause I can't see nothing in this half moon.
Lay me down if I should lose you...

I do that sometimes. I go into Gideon's room and count his breaths and watch his chest rise and fall. With this virus he's got going on, I try to prop his little head higher without waking him just so he can take deeper breaths. "I can't see nothing in this half moon" to me spoke of my attitude yesterday. That darkness creeping in and threatening to block the full light of beautiful outcomes instead of the darkness of worst-case-scenario. "Where are we when the twilight comes?" Where will we be if things take a turn for the worst? That whole stanza completely encapsulates the worry I felt... The what-if, the hows, the icy fear that was gripping me. "Half-way working on a worn-out house" described the way I was zombie-ish in my approach to getting things done yesterday -- robot-like and just going through the motions due to this fear. Everything hurts worse when there are darker thoughts instead of lighter ones playing out in my mind, so I even identified with "whining bones."

Mostly, it was the moon part that got me; not being able to see the brightness when there is possible darkness to eventually contend with... But the heaviest of all was the line, "Lay me down if I should lose you..." I think that one sings for itself and I don't and can't really expand on it. That's the line that transformed the cursor into a blob of black that completely took up all of my white writing space. It's impossible to write on a page smeared in black.

I could take this song line-by-line and get all literary critic on you, but I'll leave it there. The version I listened to had more instruments and haunting vocals in the background, which added to the beauty, the sad beauty. I'm guessing that's the version that will be on the album. For now, you can listen to the song and just feel it. It served as my emotional release and I'm no longer in the half moon, but the full sun, so please...no worries! I needed it, and I also need to keep it real on this blog.

I believe. I also believe it's okay to cry sometimes because of sadness (we all know I don't stifle the joy-streaked tears, we need to be fair to all of our emotions).

Monday, January 3, 2011

BLOOD DRIVE!!!

Wow! Amazing news! Zondervan, "an international Christian communications company," is holding a blood drive in Gideon's honor! I feel BLESSED that Gideon's story is reaching so many people, and with that, his story is inspiring more people to donate blood! Below is the "commercial" to publicize this event, and it will be running at the headquarters for the Zondervan donators to watch on the day of the drive. There will even be fishies there for people to decorate. Thank you, Zondervan!

Am I getting a little too dreamy/pushy if I offer ANYONE who wants to create a blood drive in Gideon's honor to use any of this blog and/or this "commercial" to publicize your drive? You have my blessing and permission! The more donations of blood, the more lives saved, and the more it feels like Gideon's battle has done GOOD for our world.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dear Mrs. Scheeler's Class,


Brody standing next to the TWO HUGE BOXES of brand new toys from Mrs. Scheeler's class!


One of the clinic's patients picking out a toy after his poke!


Gideon picking out a prize after his poke, too!


Dear Mrs. Scheeler's YOUNG FIVES Class,

You, boys and girls, have done such a wonderful and giving thing! There are so many people in the world who take, take, take and want, want, want, but all of you have shown that you are loving givers. You understand it makes your heart happier to GIVE than it does to TAKE. I heard that some of you even gave up one of your own Christmas presents (brand new) to give to the KCMS Clinic. Wow. I hope that when you dropped your toy into the box, a happy warmth hugged your heart until it felt like it grew, grew, grew to the point that you felt like your heart was a balloon floating to the sky! Thank you, you precious people!

You all know how scary it is to get a shot. It lasts for a second and then... it's DONE! The kids at Gideon's clinic have to go in for many different kinds of shots and very often, too. The good thing about this is that it will make the very sick children better! Even though the children at the clinic get many shots, they still can feel just as scared as you do when you get your shot. Sometimes they just don't want to do it at all, sometimes they just cry, and other times they just want to hide. Knowing that they have a bin FULL of brand new toys to choose from after the shot or shots are over can make so much of a difference. They go from crying and feeling afraid to asking, "What kinds of toys are in there?" and it gets their minds off of how scary the poke can be.

Every single gift you donated for the surprise bin will make a sick child SMILE! Do you know how beautiful it is to see an ill child who is scared or hurting to smile? It's like seeing a sky full of rainbows after a hurricane, I promise. Not only have you made so many children happy, but you have given many mommies and daddies happiness, too. When our little boys or girls are hurting, all we want to do is to take that pain away. Your toy donations made the little boys and girls smile, and that made every mommy and daddy who saw that smile to smile, as well. You formed a SMILE TRAIN! Try it! Look at the friend to your right and smile, and then that person takes your smile and turns to the person on his/her right and smiles, and keep going until everyone in the circle has smiled! I bet you all are giggling by the time this SMILE TRAIN is done. That's my hope, because you beautiful little people have done the same for so many strangers who needed your love.

THANK YOU, Mrs. Scheeler's classes!

Love,
Brody and Gideon's mommy
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Gideon update:

Gideon is sick. I'm sure it's a virus, but the boy's cough is getting worse and worse. He can't breathe through his nose, and this makes him extra crabby. I can understand that... So, I have been sticking on the BREATHE-RIGHT strips. He loves them. One thing is for sure, he adores air. After he wakes up from sedation, he takes the oxygen and just sucks it in with an "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" He acts like it's the most delectable meal he has ever tasted. When he feels like he can't get enough of it, he takes the oxygen nodules out of his nose and sucks it all in through his mouth. It's an advanced form of booger eating, I guess. I kid. But really, he just loves to breathe. I love that he loves to breathe.

Anyway, I am force feeding and force hydrating him. He shakes his head and says "NO!" towards food and drink, but thankfully he has moments of wanting to eat and drink. He doesn't have a fever, so now it's just a matter of keeping him hydrated. He dry heaves a lot at night, and I'm assuming that's from all of the mucus. I'll check in with the clinic tomorrow again to see if there is anything else I need to do. Please pray for a quick recovery and that this doesn't mutate into anything else.


My sick little man.


Breathe-RIGHT (but still a little Crabby-Crabberson)


Gideon sucking on his oxygen tube (that's supposed to be in his nose)...Ha!